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  1. #1

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    Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    For various reasons I`ve had a battery maintenance charger (e.g. a 1-2A variety that you can leave on indefinitely on a seasonal vehicle (why I originally purchased it 15+ years ago) or use overnight to keep a battery topped up).

    For various reasons, I feel like getting an updated one. I`d like a little faster (like 4-5A) since my vehicle (BMW F10) tends to let state-of-charge drop and my trips are fairly short. I`d like something designed for AGM batteries since that`s probably all I`m going to have from here on out. I intend to have this relatively easy to hook up overnight a few times a week especially in winter. Instead of being a chore so I`d like to make a better quick connect harness I can leave somewhere convenient near the wipers or something, thus a "common" QC design or a line of accessories will help me make or purchase a QC to wire in that works for my vehicle. CTEK seems to have a good selection of "add ons" too - wall mounts, bumpers, eyelet cables in different lengths with different size eyelets, cig lighter, QC extension cables, cold weather cables with greater flexibility etc... Although with a standard QC, I could make most things myself if I felt like it.

    On my list of considerations are CTEK MUS or MXS units (they don`t describe the difference between them very well) and NOCO Genius.

    In my market a CTEK or NOCO is going to be around $80-120 depending on exactly what I choose.

    So, lo and behold, my last time at Costco they had an Energizer branded, made by Intertek "4A 9-step smart charger with LCD display" for, like, $25.
    It`s this: https://www.energizerpower.com/product/enc4a/

    The instruction manual has some translation errors, but it does 2A/4A, 6V/12V, detects sulphated batteries and runs a desulphation program (although it appears you cannot put it in that mode manually which is a bummer to me), and documents fancy-pants graphs (included below) regarding their 9-steps, pulse charging, bulk charging etc... To be honest, it all sounds very much like CTEK and NOCO, but google finds me no one actually comparing these chargers to anything else.



    So, I`m wondering - is this a case where I can get 85% of the functionality for 25% of the price and I should take the "Energizer" charger from Costco? Or is there some clear superiority to either CTEK or NOCO? I realize that simply having a charger and using it semi-regularly puts me ahead of 95% of the folks out there. I don`t see any indication of an AGM mode, but it has a "cold mode" which I believe boosts target voltage from 14.6VDC to 14.8VDC which is the AGM max. CTEK talks about sensing high and low temperatures and adapting it`s charging, and has a dedicated AGM mode. ...or is that all just marketing?

    I`m open to opinions on CTEK vs NOCO, or any other brands for that matter.

    Thoughts?
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  2. #2

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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    I stopped keeping the batteries topped off once ED came into play.
    To answer the question, Ctek is a better charger than the NoCo IMO. NoCo is great at marketing though....

    I have the 3, 7 and 25 amp Ctek.
    However, between ED, 80% charge, battery registration (profile), I stopped topping off the battery as I did not want to ~fck with the 3 trifecta~ and the algorithims.

    IMO, I`d skip it.
    The discharge on AGM is very low.

    What`s your application. DD or weekend garage queen ?

  3. #3

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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    Mind if I ask what "ED" is?

    Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
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  4. #4

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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    Quote Originally Posted by mobiledynamics View Post
    IMO, I`d skip it.
    The discharge on AGM is very low.

    What`s your application. DD or weekend garage queen ?

    @chrisexv6 - ED is a lot of things , but in this case he means BMW EfficientDynamics.

    @mobiledynamics - skipping it isn`t an option I`m entertaining. As a matter of fact I`m looking for a new charger to increase, not decrease, its use. It`s specifically because of ED and 80% and my trips that are on the shorter side that I`m running a charger. I can`t remember if my current charger is 1 or 2A, but sometimes the vehicle has let the SoC get low enough that it`s charged for 18h, a few times more, just to get to the point where it returns to float mode. In the more typical case, it`ll charge at it`s max speed for 4-6h at a minimum before dropping to float when I try to plug it in overnight every week or two.

    And, I know that everything in my charging system is fine, so it`s not that my car is broken, and this has been the behaviour even with a new battery.

    It`s a DD. Note that I`m not going to put it on the charger every time it`s parked. I just want to permanently wire in a quick connect in a good spot, mount the charger to the wall, and make it nice and easy to plug in every 5-10 days and disconnect when I have to run to the train. I have no failures to start, no IBS intervention, no "discharging while parked" or "charge battery" messages. I just want to keep it topped up since that`s best for battery service life, and the safety of those depending on the car in the winter.

    For your cases, if you want to charge and not screw anything up, just be sure NOT to charge from the battery posts so all charge energy goes through the whole IBS system. It monitors energy in/out of the battery when the car is shut down too. I charge from the under hood terminal and both of the IBS equipped BMWs I`ve had have done just fine. The first was an E90, so IBS only, no ED and shipped with flooded lead-acid. I upgraded (and recoded for) AGM when that battery required replacement.

    Thanks!

  5. #5

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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    K. Looks like you`re aware of why the SOC is the SOC....due to the vehicles charging system....(I digress but it`s all about the EPA #`s these days). They don`t drive like they used to.

    Anyhow, go with the Ctek 7002 and just run the quick disconnect .

  6. #6

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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    Quote Originally Posted by mobiledynamics View Post
    K. Looks like you`re aware of why the SOC is the SOC....due to the vehicles charging system....(I digress but it`s all about the EPA #`s these days). They don`t drive like they used to.

    Anyhow, go with the Ctek 7002 and just run the quick disconnect .
    I sit a little bit on both sides of the fence concerning ED. It`s mostly marketing and CAFE - absolutely. All the folks running around forms talking about "regenerative braking" on these cars is, well, a little sad. On the other hand, once all the kinks have been worked out and it`s a few hundred lines of code to make it all work - "every little bit helps", I suppose.

    So - to expand on my question in response to your answer... Why the 7002 instead of the "9 step" Costco solution? Why the 7002 instead of the MUS 4.3 or MXS 5.0? (The real difference between which I still really can`t tell the difference). Is the 7002 just a 7A version of the MUS 4.3? For what it`s worth, the 7002 is about $185 in my market. Is it really 7.4x the charger that the $25 one is? Especially considering the $25 one isn`t a simple old battery tender, but a non-CTEK 9 step model?

  7. #7

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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    I know this probably doesn`t help you much, but I went through this a few years ago, looked at some other brands, got all confused between the different CTEK models, settled on a MUS 4.3 that I got a decent price on at Amazon, and have been happy with it as a replacement for my 1980`s Sears big black box brute force "trickle" charger.

    PS Oh, and yes, I use it for my car that will kill the battery if you leave it sit in the garage for 2 weeks. So if I haven`t driven it for a week and I might not for another week, I put the charger on it...never bothered with the dedicated connectors of various types that you spoke of...although if I recall I did buy one of the battery yokes...I wonder where that is?

  8. #8

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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    In all fairness, I have not looked at the guts at the linked $25 one.
    The 4.3 /5 is 5 amps. Slightly less power output.

    I use the smaller ones on the smaller SLA`s and the 7 amper on most car sized batteries. Nothing wrong with the 2 linked, it will just take longer.

    I have seen the guts of the Ctek and NoCo and for sure, the soldering/Build Quality is much better. It`s been eons since I`ve researched it. There must be a reason why Ferrari, Porsche, Bentley, MB OEM`s it and slaps their decal in it. It really is a much better charger when comparing like equivalents.

    I`m sure the $30 charger is fine if your goal is a bulk charge ?

    I use the Cteks mainly as garage queens connected 24/7 so I bought something I knew that would not cook out my batteries

  9. #9

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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    I have a CTEK (dunno which model ) on the S8 and Battery Tenders on the others that need `em. Sure glad I don`t have anything so high-tech that I have to use just the right thing, so thanks for reminding me that I don`t want any newer vehicles

  10. #10

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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    Quote Originally Posted by Accumulator View Post
    I have a CTEK (dunno which model ) on the S8 and Battery Tenders on the others that need `em. Sure glad I don`t have anything so high-tech that I have to use just the right thing, so thanks for reminding me that I don`t want any newer vehicles
    ...forgot to mention, I`ll probably use FK1000p to keep whichever charger I end up with free of any bonded contaminants. Just in case you were worried...

  11. #11

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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    Surly- Heh heh, thanks for putting my mind to ease


    AND/but I can even do an on-topic post about that since two of the vehicles that get the chargers are indeed protected with the FK and the garage dust that gets on `em during the winter will kinda blow off in the spring if I want to drive `em before washing it off. The Crown Vic needed some exercise a few months ago, and...well, I still haven`t felt the need to wash it and it`s been [I won`t say how long ].

    FK1000P and Trickle Chargers go together just fine in my book!

  12. #12
    dansautodetailing.com Stokdgs's Avatar
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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    I have always used for almost 20 years, Battery Tender Float Chargers... I installed a really easy battery connection they sell and all I have to do is reach down in the lower part of the bumper to connect it.. There are different sized cables that then connect the Charger to it, so the Charger can be inside if the car is outside in the elements..

    Absolutely worked great every time, and was so happy with them during all the freezing, snowing parts of the year in the Pacific Northwest 11-year adventure..

    I also use another Battery Tender on vehicles I Detail when they stay overnight. The charger runs all night on them because I had the doors open for hours that day..

    I want my Clients to have a perfectly charged battery before they leave my Shop.. And I can spot anything that may be wrong and tell them, if their battery is not charged up by the Battery Tender the next day..

    My personal vehicles batteries are always on the chargers and my battery purchases are way longer before its time..
    Dan F
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  13. #13
    tom p.'s Avatar
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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    Ctek 4.3 ftw !
    Cars: bringing people together

  14. #14
    rlmccarty2000's Avatar
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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    Wow. I guess there is more than just getting a trickle charger to keep my battery from going dead? You guys are way smarter than I am on battery chargers so I’m just going to ask what charger would be best for an e90 BMW that may sit for a few months without use? Or with the new AGM batteries is this no longer necessary? Help clear up my confusion. Thanks.

  15. #15

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    Re: Battery float chargers - CTEK vs. NOCO vs. others

    Quote Originally Posted by rlmccarty2000 View Post
    Wow. I guess there is more than just getting a trickle charger to keep my battery from going dead? You guys are way smarter than I am on battery chargers so I’m just going to ask what charger would be best for an e90 BMW that may sit for a few months without use? Or with the new AGM batteries is this no longer necessary? Help clear up my confusion. Thanks.
    First, having any kind of maintenance/float/storage charger is almost certainly better than having nothing. Any lead-acid chemistry battery will sulfate and shorten its overall service life whenever the state-of-charge falls below 80%. But, the exception:

    Second, AGM batteries have a hard maximum of 14.8VDC before getting damaged and plenty of pre-AGM chargers will push higher than that, even to 15.5 or 15.8 VDC, especially the faster 10,20 or 50A chargers. A specific "AGM mode" should ensure that the charger in question doesn`t push beyond this hard limit while doing its job. I tested my circa-2000 maintenance charger and it doesn`t seem to push beyond the safe limits of AGM so I`m comfortable using it. If I was buying something now, I would like to see specific mention of suitability for AGM or an AGM mode on anything I buy.

    Third, never charge any BMW post-E46, E39 era from the battery posts. You must charge from a location which will lead to the current passing through the IBS and related battery management/monitoring systems. I`ve always used the under hood terminals, even when I had my E39. It was more convenient anyways. I don`t know what other makes and models have similar battery management systems and should heed the same advice.

    So, I started this thread to determine 1/ is CTEK all that special, other than being the pioneer of 5, 7 and 8-step charging technology? Or is any reasonable brand that describes it`s charging methodology similarly likely going to get the same results? (like my $25 at Costco, $50 anywhere else, 9-step smart charger) 2/ What is the real difference between the multitude of chargers from CTEK which largely sound the same? MUS 4.3 MXS 5.0 etc...

    So, @tom p., were you talking about the MUS 4.3? Or one of the other CTEK`s they label 4.3? What is more "winning" about the MUS 4.3 over, say, the MXS 5.0?

    @mobiledynamics - I did manage to dig up that the Ctek MUS 7002 in addition to being 7A has a "supply program" (that the MUS 4.3 and MXS 5.0 do not have) which can be used to power the car when doing coding, flashing, programming etc... That is a use case I have, but I`ve usually just grabbed the 15A bulk charger to try to handle that. With the ignition on and engine not running, I think my F10 draws something like 50A so it`s not like the 7002 is going to keep up with that anyways.
    Thanks rlmccarty2000 thanked for this post

 

 
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